Outrage after Louisiana high school student battered by school cop (video)

Jami Coston sent this image to his mother after beating (Image source: Released by Dasuqua Coston to the media)

Students at a Louisiana high school are furious and want answers after a school resource officer’s violent takedown of a student. The incident happened at L.W. Higgins High School in Marrero, Louisiana, on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Jami Coston, 18, was confronted by a teacher who claimed that he smelled like cigarettes in the classroom. The teacher requested a school resource officer to search him and things quickly went south.

According to WWL-TV, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputy was called for a classroom disturbance. Coston was described as “abusive and profane” by the deputy. Witnesses state that Coston took off his jacket and yelled, oh b—-  you wanna fight?” That’s when the deputy grappled with Coston and slammed him to the ground.

According to JPSO Captain Jason Rivarde, “Fearing that Coston was preparing to attack him, the deputy directed Coston to submit to handcuffing. Coston refused. The deputy then escorted him into a position on the ground to handcuff him.”

Rivarde further stated that Coston continued to resist and got into another scuffle with the deputy in the school’s office. According to Rivarde, the deputy again escorted Coston to the ground and student’s face was cut near his left eye.

As students gathered to witness the event, the officer forcefully slammed Coston to the ground, which was also captured by the school’s CCTV. The officer then takes Coston to another room that has no monitoring and students then claim that Jami was beaten. Multiple witnesses have stated that they heard Coston screaming for help and heard what sounded like someone being hit behind the closed doors. When Coston later emerged blood was dripping from a bruised and battered face. He was able to Facetime his mother after the assault and she was horrified.

Coston was taken to the Jefferson Parish Jail and booked on charges of interfering with an educational facility, battery of a police officer and resisting an officer. His mother, Dasuqua Coston, told WWL-TV: “I’ve never seen a face dripping like that. It looked like it was coming mostly from his eye. His lip looks busted. His eye is bust[ed], blood is leaked all over his school shirt … leaking everywhere.”

Jami Coston was set to graduate in May 2019, and now that graduation may be in jeopardy. According to his family, the school is trying to expel Jami and they are planning a lawsuit. A video has been posted to Facebook which can be viewed below.

#JusticeForJami

On January 24th, 2019 at LW Higgins High school, 18 year old senior Jami Coston was brutally assaulted by a Jefferson Parish Police Officer, Deputy Goffie. Jami was in class when his teacher accused Jami of possessing cigarettes. When Jami told his teacher that he didn't have any on him, she accused him of lying even though she had no proof; and called Ms. Johnson, who is one of the Deans, and Deputy Goffie to the classroom to search him. Dean Johnson pulled Jami out of class and Deputy Goffie twisted his arm so hard it felt like it was going to break. Dean Johnson was still present when the incident took place and instructed the officer to take Jami to the office. Jami was desperate to prove his innocence and took off his jacket to show Deputy Goffie that he in fact did not have any cigarettes on him. The officer claimed to feel threatened and handcuffed Jami WITHOUT A FIGHT. While in handcuffs, Jami cussed at the officer at which time he was taken against his will into a room with no camera no witnesses. Jami was so badly brutalized that behind closed doors, students could hear his loud cry of pain. Rather than intervene, teachers refused allow students to support their classmate. They were helpless as they heard him getting beat up by police over an unproven accusation of smelling like cigarettes. When Jami was allowed to leave the room he was still in handcuffs, but his face was bruised and bloody. He was not allowed to write a incident report. He wasn’t even allowed to wipe blood off his face. Jami has now been arrested for battery of an officer, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest- all these charges though all these accusations are untrue. His family was unaware of anything that happened to him until Jami called his sister on Facetime. When the family asked what happened Deputy Goffie hung up on them. Jami's family was never notified by the school that Jami was in trouble and after the incident when the family tried to communicate with the school, the claimed they didn't know anything. Dean Johnson lied and told the family that she was not aware of what happened in the class, hallway nor the office even though she was the one who had him pulled out of class. Our schools aren’t safe. Our teachers don’t keep us safe. This is State Violence. We want answers and we want justice. Why was Jami treated as a suspect?Why was he searched?Why were officers allowed to place him in handcuffs?Why were officers allowed to take him into a room unsupervised?Why is he being charged? How could he assault an officer with his hands cuffed behind his back? Why wasn’t the family notified as soon as the incident took place? Why did the teachers choose to protect the police and not the students? What happened Thursday to Jami, and Friday when students tried to speak up on his behalf is too common. And the whole damn system is guilty as hell! If you’re ready to get justice, text or call this number (504) 517-8659. We’re going to meet on Tuesday. We have rides for anyone who needs one. Let us know. We can’t be silent about this. We want jami released and all charges dropped!We want police out of our schools!We want dean johnson fired!Join Rethink to let these schools know that the youth are not going to take this anymore!! (504) 517-8659 #assaultathigginshigh#endwaronyouth#studentsnotsuspects#freejami#justiceforjami#rethinkresistrebel#respecttheyouth

Posted by Rethink on Friday, January 25, 2019

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest news from Rolling Out.